The Pangburn Jr. Tigers won the opening game of the night Tuesday in Tiger Arena, but both senior high squads fell in their games as the Lady Tigers, who are ranked sixth in Class 2A by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, lost 69-38 to the Lady Panthers, who rank first in Class 1A. The Tigers came up just short after the Panthers held on for a 72-69.
Led by 6’2” senior forward Marleigh Dodson, the Lady Panthers rolled to their twelfth straight victory after coasting to the mercy-rule decision over the Lady Tigers, knocking down eleven total three-pointers as a team.
Pangburn opened the game with a 4-2 lead after senior guard Kylee Huggins buried a three from the top of the key, but Norfork responded with three straight threes of their own, as Dodson would go on a personal 8-0 run before completing a three-point play to reach the 2,000 point plateau for her career. Senior Ivy McGowan drilled the Lady Panthers’ fourth three of the quarter to give themselves 28-11 lead.
2017 All-State selection Tylar Vernon would provide the next eight points for Pangburn, with Norfork continuing to pour it on by burying three more trifectas, two from junior Kinley Stowers and one from classmate Macy Dillard to extend the visitor’s lead to 43-23.
The Lady Panthers would come out firing on all cylinders after coming out with a 10-0 run that included four points from Dodson and a triple from Stowers, as well as one from senior Matty Dillard midway through the quarter to push the lead to 30. Pangburn senior Hannah Bourgeois and Vernon would score on back-to-back possessions before Dodson showed off her range by dropping in a shot from downtown to make it 57-31 with eight more minutes.
The Lyon College signee would add to her stat line by scoring on two put backs and splitting on a trip to the free-throw line, scorching the net for another three-pointer after getting an offensive rebound off a missed free throw, as sophomore Raylene King provided all seven of Pangburn’s points in the final session of play, with the final buzzer sounding and the score set at 69-38.
Dodson led all scorers with 29 points, as Stowers followed with 17 for 32-1 Norfork, whose lone loss came to 7A North Little Rock in the finals of the Mountain Home Invitational Tournament. Vernon had 13 points for Pangburn, who dropped to 27-4 with the loss.
With seven seconds remaining and the Tigers facing a three-point deficit, junior Joe Barnett would line up a three-pointer in the corner that would miss the mark and give the Panthers the walk-off victory in a game that saw multiple lead changes and included a fourth quarter that never got outside of two possessions.
Norfork grabbed an early 20-17 lead thanks to three-pointers from seniors Brett Sorters and Jordan Rhymer and two layups from Brock Belding, with Jaden McFall scoring on a blocking foul that was called at the horn. Pangburn took their first lead with 5:12 left in the half after freshman Luke Rolland and sophomore Alex Langley both finished off three-point plays, extending their lead to seven at 37-30 with juniors Braxton Greene and Garrett Holloway both netting three-pointers. Sophomore Hunter Rains would put a putback shot up and in before Sorters would help close the gap after scoring five straight to get Norfork with four.
The Panthers would reel off seven straight out of the intermission to take the lead back at three, with the Tigers adding to more threes to their resume, going up five after Greene was fouled on an attempt beyond the arc, draining all three of his free-throw attempts. Sorters would answer with a personal 5-0 run that was capped off with a driving finish to tie the game up at 51-51 heading into the final quarter.
Rolland would go two for two from the charity stripe to compliment Greene’s three to start the fourth, but Rhymer would take the wheel for the Panthers, scoring nine points in four minutes for a 62-56 lead. The Tigers answered by sinking five of six free throws, cutting it to a one possession game before Sorters found to the basket for the finish to go with a foul, getting the free throw to go.
Both teams traded buckets back and forth, leading to Rolland picking off a steal and passing ahead to Greene for a game-tying layup with 46.6 ticks left. Norfork would wind the clock down on the ensuing possession and get the ball to sophomore Tyler Sorters in the left corner, who would step up and knock down the go-ahead trifecta with 19.4 remaining, forcing Pangburn head coach Ben Jones to call time out.
Greene’s three-point attempt from professional range clanked out, leading to a foul that would put junior Kyle Crawford at the free throw line, who would miss both shots and give the Tigers one final chance to tie the game and send it to overtime. Junior Joe Barnett was inserted into the game and was found in the corner, but his shot fell short and gave the Panthers the victory.
Brett Sorters led Norfork (7-20) with 31 points, as Rhymer cashed in with 15. Greene led Pangburn (15-15) with 27, as Rolland tallied 12.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers will finish the regular season out by hosting Augusta Tuesday night before also playing host to Guy-Perkins Friday on Senior Night.
The Pangburn Jr. Tigers whipped the Jr. Panthers in the first game of the night, as Breydon Davis clocked out with 10 points. Tanner Galyan hit three three-pointers for nine points to follow Davis in the scoring column. The Jr. Tigers led 14-3, 26-9, and 45-14 at the quarter breaks.